Prototype camera set for integration into novel gamma-ray telescope

A unique high-speed camera, designed to capture the fleeting effects of gamma rays crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere, will soon be on its way from the University of Wisconsin–Madison to Arizona’s Mount Hopkins.

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Icebound detector reveals how ghostly neutrinos are stopped cold

Famously, neutrinos, the nearly massless particles that are a fundamental component of the universe, can zip through a million miles of lead without skipping a beat. Now, in a critical measurement that may one day help predict new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics, an international team of researchers with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory has shown how energized neutrinos can be stopped cold as they pass through the Earth.

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Images of strange solar system visitor peel away some of the mystery

A strange visitor, either asteroid or comet, zipping through our solar system at a high rate of speed is giving astronomers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to examine up close an object from somewhere else in our galaxy.

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Charles Bentley, pioneering UW-Madison glaciologist, dies

Charles R. Bentley, an intrepid University of Wisconsin–Madison glaciologist and geophysicist who was among the first scientists to measure the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the late 1950s, died Aug. 19 in Oakland, California. He was 87.

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Celestial boondocks: Study supports the idea that we live in a void

Cosmologically speaking, the Milky Way and its immediate neighborhood are in the boondocks. In a 2013 observational study, University of Wisconsin–Madison astronomer Amy Barger and her then-student Ryan Keenan showed that our galaxy, in the context of the large-scale structure of the universe, resides in an enormous void — a region of space containing far fewer galaxies, stars and planets than expected.

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South African cave yields yet more fossils of a newfound relative

Probing deeper into the South African cave system known as Rising Star, a subterranean maze that last year yielded the largest cache of hominin fossils known to science, an international team of researchers has discovered another chamber with more remains of a newfound human relative, Homo naledi

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UW project brings Milky Way’s ionized hydrogen into focus

Like a lot of pioneering science, the Wisconsin H-Alpha Mapper (WHAM) got its start as the shoestring project of a curious young researcher. Sawing a hole in the ceiling of an office at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Physical Sciences Laboratory in the late 1970s, astrophysicist Ron Reynolds pointed a specially built spectrometer skyward for the first time and discovered a previously unknown feature of the Milky Way.

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From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a ‘chaotic solar system’

Plumbing a 90 million-year-old layer cake of sedimentary rock in Colorado, a team of scientists from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Northwestern University has found evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.

The discovery promises not only a better understanding of the mechanics of the solar system, but also a more precise measuring stick for geologic time.

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UW-Madison astrophysics innovator Lawler wins national award

James Lawler, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of physics known for devising innovative techniques to measure the chemical elements in the sun and other stars, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize by the American Astronomical Society.

The prize, announced by the AAS Laboratory Astrophysics Division, is given each year to an individual “who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time.”

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